Standing up against what you believe to be an incorrect idea can be tricky. I know I’ve royally botched up important conversations in myriad ways.
That’s why I love the awesome example Emma Stone set recently while being interviewed with her boyfriend and fellow The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actor Andrew Garfield. She showed incredible grace while confronting sexism, and thereby acknowledged how the seemingly innocuous comments we all say should be questioned and refined.
Watch the interview itself here: Emma Stone Calls Out Andrew Garfield’s Casual Sexism In The Most Perfect Way
Stone showed amazing centeredness in asking a simple question, whereas Garfield was decidedly off-center, defensive, and indignant while back-peddling, and yes, squirming a titch.
That doesn’t make him an idiot.
Some articles about this situation have stated that Emma attained some kind of ‘win’ but I don’t particularly like that view. While on paper I think it would have been better that he not try to save face so much as just say he was wrong–maybe kiss Emma on the spot for her amazingly good question–that kind of insta-humility takes a lot of practice as well. I don’t think most of us have it. In real-time, we might also have tried to save our point no matter how wrong it was, especially in front of a huge audience, before admitting we messed up.
But his idea about femininity was incorrect in my opinion, so thank goodness for an actress with the ability to ask an important question. You go, Emma!
While I love studying how to be a better communicator, I don’t believe in waiting until you are perfect at it to share your voice and opinion. I try to be considerate and centered, but at the end of the day, I’m a person who values being real and direct–which gets me into trouble from time to time.
Even when I’ve not stood up for my beliefs with as much finesse as Emma Stone showed here, I’m still glad I stood up and said something. But because ideas are important to me, I want to always get better at sharing mine more effectively. That’s why I need good examples like Emma Stone was in this situation.
Ultimately, learning to be both direct and centered takes a ton of practice which implies making mistakes. The point is to engage in conversations about difficult topics rather than sitting back, afraid to make those mistakes. It also implies developing the ability to sincerely and openly say you were wrong. Because we are all often wrong!
Plus, she pretty much rocked it on Jimmy Fallon: